African startups have experienced significant growth in recent years. This much-desired course is critical for driving the growth in entrepreneurship that will lead to the survival of the continent. According to the Africa Internet Economy 2020 report, sponsored by Google and the International Finance Corporation, Africa’s Internet economy is poised to boost the continent’s economy by 5.25% in the next five years. The report comments that the headwinds brought by COVID-19 will not deter the projected growth of Africa’s internet economy, which is expected to contribute nearly $189 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2025 with a forecasted increase to $712 billion by 2050.
African developers and startups play a crucial role in the transformation of the continent's economy, creating new opportunities and paving the way for economic and social development. At Google, we recognize Africa’s exceptional digital talent and potential, and that is why we are committed to providing critical support to African startups. This year, we will be opening applications for the 6th class of the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa programme while also launching new developer scholarships in partnership with Pluralsight and Andela.
Startups from the inaugural Accelerator class celebrating their graduation, 2018
Today, we are making two announcements at a virtual event where we are hosting media, key industry players, policy leads, startup executives and investors driving the growth of Africa’s tech ecosystem. The event, #Build4Africa, is providing opportunities to review trends unfolding throughout the internet economy, paying special attention to the support of developers and startups in Africa.
Applications for the Class 6 Google for Startups Accelerator Africa programme, a three-month programme that is slated to start on 21 June 2021, will be open until 14 May 2021. The online programme (which includes 3 intensive virtual training bootcamps, mentorship and Google product support) is open to applications from 17 countries across Africa, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The aim is to support the advancement of the startups through their crucial growth phases.
The new scholarships for Android, Web and Google Cloud development will be offered to beginner and intermediate developers resident in Africa. A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers spread across Mobile and Cloud development tracks and, at the end of the training, the top 1,000 students will earn a full scholarship to certify in Android or Cloud development.
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first virtual class of Google for Startups Accelerator kicked off with 20 startups from seven countries undergoing a 12-week virtual journey to redefine their offering while receiving mentoring and attending workshops.
Team Voyc.ai pitching their solution at the GFS investor immersion
[GFS Accelerator alumni participated in an investor immersion
[GFS Accelerator alumni participated in an investor immersion, 2019] In recent years, we have worked to support developer communities across Sub-Saharan Africa.
- In 2020, Africa’s first Google Developers Space (a hub for African developers, entrepreneurs and startups) was launched in Lagos, Nigeria. This followed the commitment made by Sundar Pichai to African entrepreneurs in July 2017. The space is where entrepreneurs, developers, venture capitalists and investors can connect and collaborate with each other.
- 11 startups were also selected last year to participate in the fully digital inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 11 were selected based on their vision to address challenges outlined in the UN’s SDGs including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
- Through Google Developer Groups (GDG) and Women Techmakers, we provide training aligned with real-life job competency requirements. There are 173 active GDGs providing opportunities for developers to converge around similar interests at talks and hands-on workshops.
Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams facilitated by developers, for developers. Today there are more than 120 active developer communities across 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
We are excited to continue our journey with African startup and developer communities because we believe that Africa’s startup ecosystem is a key driver of economic growth on the continent. The growth of all players in the tech space is collective; the success of one lays the path for others.